“We are dealing with people at their worst times,” she said.
Yet despite the challenges her cases often present, Johnson says she enjoys her job: “I’m here early, I stay late, and I love what I do.”
That wasn’t always the case. After graduating from Webster University in 2001, Johnson worked as a freelance film producer and event planner. While working on a shoot in Alton, Illinois, she said she realized she wasn’t happy with the way things were unfolding in her professional life.
A casual conversation with friends turned to the topic of dream jobs, and Johnson decided to make a drastic pivot in her career path.
“The next day I went and bought books and started studying for the LSAT,” she said.
Until then, she said she’d thought about being an attorney only once before — as a sixth-grader, during a mock trial focused on the fairy tale “Jack and the Bean Stalk.”
Johnson graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law in December 2009, when “there weren’t a lot of jobs out there,” she said.
She opened her own practice, and five years later started with Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal.
In addition to her practice, Johnson’s priorities include public service and volunteer work. In 2009, she was honored as Saint Louis University’s Volunteer of the Year.
“I think of all the things I’ve been graced with… being able to give back is so important,” she said.
Among her activities: serving as board president for the Jane Doe Advocacy Center, a Missouri- based agency that provides legal services for people who have been affected by sexual violence. Johnson joined its board in July 2016 and began leading it in October 2017. She does not handle cases for Jane Doe but works to promote the organization and its goals.
“It is amazing work,” she said.
Since law school, Johnson has assisted Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, which provides legal and accounting assistance as well as educational programs for artists in the St. Louis region.
She volunteers with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, handling pro bono family-law work, and she helps various organizations with trust and estate work for undocumented immigrants.
Johnson also teaches yoga to other attorneys at her firm. The activity and the accompanying lifestyle it encourages — living fully and mindfully — help her to stay grounded, she said. Whether she’s helping her colleagues to alleviate stress through yoga or organizing a charitable drive to benefit an organization she supports, she said sharing her time with others is always gratifying.
“That feeling of providing service is a really neat feeling,” she said.